Eu stops liberalization of the spare parts market: why drivers have to pay outrageous prices for spare parts

For years, business and consumer associations have been fighting for a liberalization of the market for automotive spare parts. A repair clause should bring down the expensive monopoly of the car companies. But now the EU Commission has stopped the reform.

Every garage owner knows that expensive original parts and cheaper, but sometimes qualitatively equivalent, no-name parts often come from the same source. Say: from the same supplier. But if the manufacturer’s logo is on the part, it will usually be significantly more expensive than without it.

Car manufacturers don’t want cheap

This is how a very lucrative spare parts business works for car manufacturers. And this is not likely to change.

After almost seven years, the european commission has now withdrawn the new version of the so-called eu design directive. Among other things, this means that the Europe-wide introduction of a repair clause, which was supposed to liberalize the trade in automotive spare parts, is off the table. This is about design protection, which the car companies claim for themselves and thus prevent independent suppliers from offering visible spare parts, such as fenders or headlights, at lower prices.

"the losers in this development are the car drivers," says the German association of auto parts manufacturers (GVA). Many EU member states have now introduced a repair clause that takes into account the interest of vehicle manufacturers in protecting the design of their new vehicles, while at the same time opening up the spare parts market to independent suppliers. However, a pan-European regulation failed due to the resistance of the representatives of France and Germany in the EU Council of Ministers.

"strong lobby of vehicle manufacturers"

On several occasions, an alliance of associations and companies – including the GVA, the ADAC and the consumer association – had appealed to the federal government to enable free competition by agreeing to the amendment of the EU design directive. This was already drafted in 2004 and passed by the EU parliament in december 2007. Since then, however, the dossier has been before the EU Council of Ministers for a final decision, where it died a long death.

"under pressure from the governments of the states with a strong lobby of vehicle manufacturers, i.e. mainly france and germany, the adoption was continuously prevented," says GVA president hartmut rohl. "they want to secure an extremely profitable monopoly for domestic vehicle manufacturers for these products for as long as possible."This is against the wishes of the 500 million EU citizens represented by the vast majority in the EU parliament.

A lucrative monopoly for the corporations

Although there are also "rudimentary signs of competition" in Germany, this is made possible by a non-binding declaration by representatives of German vehicle manufacturers that they will not use their design rights to restrict independent suppliers. However, this promise has been repeatedly broken. While there are no problems with the trade in body-integrated spare parts in other EU countries, this is "a criminal offense in Germany," says GVA president Rohl.

As the ADAC pointed out in 2013, the price of non-visible spare parts such as brake pads for the VW Golf had risen by twelve percent in the previous six years, while the price of visible spare parts had increased by 40 percent. A lucrative market that carmakers such as volkswagen, BMW and opel would be reluctant to give up. To secure their monopoly, the companies would therefore put pressure on the politicians, according to ADAC and GVA.

Saving on spare parts is possible

In September 2013, for example, the GVA compared the price differences for a Renault Megane III. Replacing common body parts – bumper, hood, both headlights and fenders – with replacement parts from renault would cost the consumer a total of 1314 euros. If he opts instead for independent suppliers, he pays only 1230 euros – a saving of about 80 euros. The ADAC came to similar conclusions in its tests.

"a headlight, for example, has to have a certain shape so that it can be installed in a vehicle. A variety of shapes is not possible, so design protection in the spare parts sector is nonsensical," says GVA president Rohl. According to experts, liberalization by limiting design protection is "urgently needed from an economic, legal and consumer policy perspective". The GVA plans to continue to lobby the EU Commission.

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Christina Cherry
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: